Tonight’s herding adventure was quite different from the first time. Shelly is renting space at an indoor barn way out in farmland Abbotsford so we were in an indoor arena. That meant the space was much larger than the first time out in the field. There were horses in stalls and a very snugly barn cat wandering around, creating distractions.
Maia got to go twice. The first time she was very unsure. She would run at the sheep and bark, then turn and run back to me. I had to keep sending her back towards Shelly and the sheep. She seemed nervous and she didn’t display any of the beautiful instinct that she did her first time. By the end of that turn she was panting hard and obviously super-stimulated.
I put her back in the car and brought Dodge and Bosco in one at a time to say hello and sniff around a bit. Shelly said if she didn’t currently have a shepherd she’d adopt Dodge in a second. She did say that she would ask around to see if she knows anyone looking for a dog and she also offered to put him up on her website.
I tried to bring Maia back in while Nyx was having her second turn but Maia was scream-whining in her excitement to get back out at the sheep. We had to go outside the barn and I tried to distract her by walking around. It didn’t really work. All Maia wanted were SHEEPIES.
Her second turn was beautiful. Right from the start she ran away from me towards Shelly and the sheep, and she only came back towards me once, and that only halfway. She was circling around and moving them very nicely, and listening and following Shelly’s directions. Instincts are crazy cool to watch in action. She even herded the sheep into the trailer, as this was the last run of the night. I was so proud of my girl.
Next time I think I will let Bosco go again. It was so wonderful to watch him realize that he was not just allowed but encouraged to go chase the sheepies. I love bringing joy to their lives.